Nowitzki passes Wilt but Pelicans top Mavs 129-125 in OT
By DAVE JACKSON
Tuesday, March 19
DALLAS (AP) — For the 7-footer who has built a Hall of Fame career shooting from the outside, it was the perfect way to reach his latest milestone.
Dirk Nowitzki swished a 20-foot jumper with 8:35 left in the first quarter Monday night, passing Wilt Chamberlain for sixth place on the NBA’s career scoring list — but it wasn’t enough for the Dallas Mavericks.
Elfrid Payton had his fifth straight triple-double and Julius Randle scored 30 points to help the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Mavericks 129-125 in overtime Monday night.
Nowitzki moved past Chamberlain (31,419 points) by making his first two shots of the game. The first was a 20-footer off an assist from Jalen Brunson. Then the 40-year-old German took a feed from Luka Doncic and backed down Kenrich Williams before turning and launching from the top of the key.
“I took my time and faced him up like I’ve done a million times and tried to shoot over him,” Nowitzki said. “It was good to get it over with in the first two shots.”
Payton had 19 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Dallas rookie Luka Doncic turned in a triple-double of his own with 29 points, 13 boards and 10 assists, including the pass that put Nowitzki higher up in the record book.
“He deserves everything good that happens to him,” Doncic said. “It’s amazing the things he has accomplished, but this one is really amazing for him.”
Nowitzki finished with eight points, giving him 31,424 in his 21 seasons — trailing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Michael Jordan.
The two jumpers were a fitting way for Nowitzki to pass Chamberlain, whose listed height of 7-foot-1 is only an inch taller than Nowitzki. But the two achieved their point totals with contrasting styles of play.
Chamberlain once averaged more than 50 points in a season, dominating inside to such a degree that the NBA widened the paint in an effort to neutralize him.
Nowitzki, meanwhile, has made nearly 2,000 3-pointers in his prolific career, establishing the trend of big men with long-range shooting capabilities. He’s an 88 percent free throw shooter, 37 points higher than Chamberlain’s mark.
“The league wanted a change, and I came in at the right time,” Nowitzki said. “They basically forced teams to do a little more movement and more pick-and-roll. All the guys now can shoot and spread the floor. It was just perfect for me and for my skill set.”
Nowitzki’s skill set has naturally diminished with age, especially this season. He missed the first 26 games after offseason ankle surgery and has averaged only six points per game — 15 below his career average. He started for just the ninth time Monday and played 12 minutes.
“Not many people on the outside know the kinds of sacrifices to be on the floor to accomplish something like this,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s just another credit to how he’s approached his entire career.”
WITNESS TO HISTORY
Randle, a Dallas native who grew up watching Nowitzki and admires his inside-outside game, was in the arena for Nowitzki’s previous major milestone as a member of the Lakers when Nowitzki passed the 30,000-point mark.
“I was just happy he didn’t hit the shot on me,” Randle said. “It’s crazy to see he’s breaking a record every time I come. It just shows you his accomplishments and his achievements.”
HOME SWEET HOME
Also serendipitous was Nowitzki reaching the milestone in Dallas — he is the only NBA player to spend 21 seasons with one team. The club launched a new marketing campaign Monday called 41.21.1, commemorating his uniform number and his tenure with the team. It is anticipated that this will be his final season, though Nowitzki has only said publicly he will decide at the end of the year. He reiterated that statement after the game.
Randle scored 11 points in the final 3:29 of regulation, helping the Pelicans rally to force overtime. Doncic made the second of two free throws with 1.9 seconds left to tie the score at 110, and Randle missed a turnaround at the buzzer.
Payton and Frank Jackson each had six points in OT for the Pelicans, who ended a six-game losing streak.
“It’s great, especially after what happened the other day,” Payton said, referring to Saturday’s overtime loss to last-place Phoenix. “To be in a similar situation as far as a close game, to be able to pull it out is big.”
Pelicans: Anthony Davis had 20 points in 21 minutes. Jackson scored 19.
Mavericks: Tim Hardaway Jr. had 21 points. Salah Mejri scored a season-high nine. … Doncic has scored 20 or more points in 38 games, second among Mavs rookies to Jay Vincent (53) in 1981-82.
Pelicans: Visit the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.
Mavericks: Visit the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Mavericks top Cavaliers 121-116 as Dirk closes on Wilt
By DAVE JACKSON
Sunday, March 17
DALLAS (AP) — As they watched Dirk Nowitzki’s shooting heat up yet again, fans at the American Airlines Center thought they might be watching history Saturday night.
Nowitzki will have to wait another game to reach his latest milestone, but his Dallas Mavericks got a much-needed win.
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 22 points, Nowitzki closed within three points of Wilt Chamberlain on the NBA scoring list and the Mavericks ended a seven-game losing streak with a 121-116 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Entering the fourth quarter with just four points, Nowitzki scored 10 in the first five minutes of the period to bring himself to the cusp of Chamberlain for sixth place on the career scoring list.
Nowitzki hit a turnaround jumper, a 3-pointer, two free throws and then another from long range with 7:15 left in the game. With the crowd buzzing on every Mavericks possession in the final minutes, Nowitzki missed his final five shots before leaving to a standing ovation in the final seconds.
“I was going for it there,” Nowitzki said. “I just didn’t have another hot hand down the stretch.”
He has another home game on Monday before the team leaves on a three-game road trip.
“Breaking records is always fun,” Nowitzki said. “If it happens at home, it’s even more special for fans that have been riding with you for such a long time.”
Nowitzki was one of seven Mavericks in double figures, helping to offset leading scorer Luka Doncic’s absence due to a right knee contusion.
Maxi Kleber had 18 points and a career-high 12 rebounds for Dallas, and Jalen Brunson and Dwight Powell had 16 points apiece.
Collin Sexton scored 28 for the Cavaliers. Kevin Love and Cedi Osman each had 22 for Cleveland, which has lost three in a row.
Cleveland’s last lead came at 10-9 midway through the first quarter, and the Mavericks led by as many as 21 in the second half before the Cavaliers made a run late to make the final score closer.
“I think we took a huge step back defensively,” Love said. “We’ve been looking at film, but when we’re not scoring that ball it’s almost like we’re giving up on the defensive end.”
Cavaliers: Though both attended shootaround Saturday, Larry Nance (rib contusion) and Tristan Thompson (left foot soreness) remained out for Cleveland. … With Phoenix winning Saturday at New Orleans, Cleveland’s six road wins are the fewest in the NBA.
Mavericks: Brunson and Powell’s numbers have spiked since the All-Star break, with Powell averaging 17 points (nine prior to the break) and Brunson averaging 16 (seven). Brunson is also shooting 92 percent from the free throw line compared to 67 percent before the break. … Dorian Finney-Smith scored 14 to reach 1,000 points for his career.
Sexton surpassed 20 points for the fifth game in a row and 19th time in his rookie season. He finished one short of his career high.
“The game is starting to slow down for him a little bit,” Cavs coach Larry Drew said. “He’s just really doing a good job of picking and choosing his spots.”
GOING FOR ASSISTS
Nowitzki’s teammate Devin Harris remained on the floor in the final quarter. It was Harris who delivered the assist on the basket that gave Nowitzki 30,000 points in 2017. Harris wanted another chance at history Saturday.
“I think everybody sacrificed and tried to get it over for him,” Harris said. “We wanted to get it for him. I’m hoping this next game we will be able to.”
Harris finished with a season-high nine assists.
Cavaliers: Host Detroit on Monday, starting a three-game homestand.
Mavericks: Host New Orleans on Monday.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Nebraska man reconstructs small village’s sports history
By JEFF BAHR
The Grand Island Independent
FARWELL, Neb. (AP) — Randy Lukasiewicz believes the history of Farwell sports is worth remembering, and he’s collected as much of it as he can find.
That history is found in the old Strelecki Creamery building, which he owns. In the window of the building is a Farwell baseball uniform worn by the late Darryl Krzycki.
As part of Lukasiewicz’s efforts, he sells T-shirts that recall the Sherman-Howard Baseball League, which ran from 1912 to the 1970s. At one time or another, more than 40 Nebraska communities competed in that amateur baseball league.
He also sells shirts and other items emblazoned with the name of the Farwell Athletic Club, the Grand Island Independent reported.
Looking over an old photo that included his grandfather, Paul, Lukasiewicz noticed the athletes had the letters “FAC” on their uniforms. Although he has done a lot of research and talked to many people, he could never quite confirm that the Farwell Athletic Club existed.
But if it didn’t, Lukasiewicz decided the acronym might just as well stand for faith, attitude and community.
Those qualities helped build and sustain rural community life years ago, he said.
Lukasiewicz, 68, wrote a book about Farwell’s history in baseball “and so much more,” the cover states.
In the book, he writes, “whether you come from a big city or small village,” the need for those sustaining qualities of faith, attitude and community has not changed and might be needed now more than ever.
Lukasiewicz also associates an old Farwell baseball team, the Fence Busters, with the slogan “Whatever it takes.”
That motto governed their lives, he said.
“May it be an inspiration for you also, as you journey through your own fields, streets and challenges of life,” he wrote on posters he prepared.
Farwell, he said, produced many great athletes over the years.
The book includes photos of many of the town’s baseball teams, ranging from 1914 to the 1950s.
On the cover of the book, he writes that it captures a “magical and mythical time of town team baseball” in a small Polish village in central Nebraska in the 1950s.
He wrote that he was blessed to live in that era.
“I spent my Sunday afternoons chasing foul balls, hearing the sound of steel cleats and wooden bats and watching my heroes at the ole ball diamond,” wrote Lukasiewicz, who graduated from Grand Island Central Catholic in 1968.
When he was a kid, he had an Omaha World-Herald newspaper route in Farwell. He delivered papers to some of the town’s older residents. Later on, looking at the old baseball photos, he saw those people when they were younger.
In the old creamery, pictures pay tribute to old Farwell athletes. Lukasiewicz has a collection of old Farwell grade-school basketball uniforms.
An interesting item is an old stage curtain, which was used for generations. In the midst of all the autographs and messages written on the curtain is a note indicating that one play was presented the weekend Pearl Harbor was attacked. That curtain hung in Farwell’s old Modern Woodmen of America Hall.
Lukasiewicz, who lives in Omaha, opens his exhibit up to the public sometimes. He was on hand for four days last September during Junk Jaunt. He has also taken the town team baseball exhibit to other communities.
In past summers, a group of Farwell natives faced Ord in “vintage” baseball games in Farwell and at Fort Hartsuff. In Farwell, Lukasiewicz had the Ord players emerge from a cornfield, just as players do in the movie “Field of Dreams.”
One of the heroes of Farwell baseball is the late Howard Waltman, who played in the Sherman-Howard League for 30 years as a catcher. As a young man, Waltman played with Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth. When he retired, he and his wife moved to Crete, where they started a softball league for young people.
Waltman had such an impact on Crete that citizens named a softball complex in his honor.
Lukasiewicz finds it interesting that few people in Farwell know about the Waltman complex in Crete, and Crete residents don’t know about Waltman’s baseball past in Farwell.
George Dilla was one of the founders of the Sherman-Howard Baseball League. The last year Farwell competed in that league was 1963.
Leonard Williams of Grand Island played in the Sherman-Howard League for about 12 years in the 1960s and ’70s, pitching for Ord and Scotia.
Williams, 73, recalled that Boelus and Wood River fielded good squads.
“Greeley and Wolbach always had pretty decent teams, too,” he said.
Depending on which team you were on and facing, “it was kind of blood and guts when we played each other,” Williams said.
Playing was “a lot of fun,” he said. “We’d really go at it when the game was going, but once it was over, it wasn’t too bad.”
The old creamery building is not entirely devoted to sports. On the wall is a photo of Sir Ebenezer Howard, an Englishman who was the founder of the garden city movement. Howard, who died in 1928, lived for a time in Farwell.
The last year Farwell had a high school was 1968.
The school had a football team for one year, in 1960.
Farwell had great athletic success in 1955-56. The Panthers did well in volleyball, varsity basketball and reserve basketball. That year, Lukasiewicz was in kindergarten.
The Farwell varsity team, which fell to Holstein in the championship game, was led by “Tall Paul” Collison. The other Panthers included Darryl Krzycki, who put together a detailed book about the school year.
According to Lukasiewicz’s book, those players have since passed away. “Both have been called up to the Heavenly Big League,” he wrote.
Information from: The Grand Island Independent, http://www.theindependent.com
An AP Member Exchange shared by the Grand Island Independent.
Xenia’s Samari Curtis Named Ohio Mr. Basketball
Cincinnati-bound senior set school records for points and was All-GWOC three years
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Xenia High School senior Samari Curtis was announced as Ohio Mr. Basketball Thursday by a statewide media panel.
Curtis will receive the Mr. Basketball award Friday night at the OHSAA boys basketball state tournament.
Headed to the University of Cincinnati, the 6-foot-4 Curtis averaged 34.4 points per game this season to lead the Greater Western Ohio Conference. His 5.8 assists per game ranked second in the league. In his career, he scored 2,109 points, which marks a school-record, as were his 816 points as a senior. This season, he made 224 free throws, which rank ninth in OHSAA history. He made more free throws this season than anyone else in the league even attempted. His 514 career made free throws are 13th in OHSAA history.
Curtis was a first-team All-GWOC selections as a sophomore (23.4 points, 4.6 assists, 6.3 rebounds), junior (29.8 points, 5.2 assists) and senior (34.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists).
Other finalists for the award were Davis Black of Byesville Meadowbrook, Ben Roderick of Olentangy Liberty, Zach Rasile of McDonald, Devon Grant of Lorain, Bo Myers of Logan and Brandon Haraway of Norwalk.
Leadership Drives Curtis to Ohio’s Mr. Basketball Award
By John Bombatch, Xenia Daily Gazette
XENIA — Ever since a tornado ripped through the town of Xenia, residents often have uttered the saying “Xenia Lives,” in recognition of its ongoing progress since that dreadful day on April 3, 1974.
Now nearly 45 years later, Xenia High School Head Coach Kent Anderson has something he thinks the locals will enjoy saying even more:
“Mr. Basketball lives in Xenia.”
XHS senior Samari Curtis has been named Ohio’s Mr. Basketball for 2019, as determined by a distinguished panel of Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association and Associated Press media members.
Anderson told Curtis he would be doing a routine interview in recognition of his being selected onto the Division I All-Ohio team as its Player of the Year. It wasn’t until he met with a local writer that the wily coach dropped the news.
Curtis was overcome with emotion.
“Lebron (James) is my most favorite player, ever. He’s the reason I started playing basketball. So to get an award that he got … it’s so humbling,” Curtis, a 6-foot-4 senior forward, said upon learning he would join his childhood idol as a recipient of the Mr. Basketball Award.
James, now an NBA star with the Los Angeles Lakers, was the Mr. Basketball recipient from 2001 through 2003, during those years when Curtis was first learning the game from his older brothers Marcus and Aaron.
Curtis led the always-tough Greater Western Ohio Conference in scoring three of his four years with the Buccaneers. During his senior season, Curtis finished with a 34.4 points per game scoring average. He also had the second-most assists in the GWOC with 5.8 per contest.
His 224 made free throws this season are unofficially the ninth most free throws made in Ohio High School Athletic Association boys basketball history. Curtis made more free throws than anyone else in the league had even attempted. His 514 career free throws made put him 13th on the OHSAA’s all-time list. He set the school record for points in a single game at 52 in a non-league home win on Feb. 5.
At the prestigious Flyin’ to the Hoop basketball showcase in January, Curtis scored 44 points against First Love Christian Academy (Pa.). His total is the second most points scored in that event’s history.
Yet despite all the scoring accolades, Curtis takes pride in his leadership qualities the most.
“From my sophomore year to my senior year, coach Anderson has really helped me to try and see the floor as a coach, like how he sees it,” Curtis said. “Senior year, I had a lot of sophomore teammates. So I really had to step my leadership up, on the defensive and offensive end. … If coach wouldn’t have helped me with that, I don’t think we would’ve been as successful this year.”
Anderson says he had a hard time getting his star scoring machine to shoot the ball, when the preseason started. On a roster loaded with underclassmen, Curtis had other plans first.
“I said ‘Samari, what are you doin’? Shoot the ball!’” Anderson laughed. “He said, ‘Coach, I’ve gotta get these guys ready to play basketball.’ That was his mindset in terms of what he wanted to do to help his team get ready for the season ahead. And now it’s come back to him.”
Curtis played a support role on the Buccaneers team as a freshman, but vowed to improve himself in the offseason. The day after that season ended, he was in the weight room.
“Freshman year, I didn’t have very much athleticism,” he said. “But I could shoot though, and that kept me on the floor. I had two good players in Ray James and Rocky James, and so I just tried to make my shots when I could. Do what I could to make a play. … I couldn’t really do too much off the dribble my freshman year, but that’s most of my game now. I’m a better defender, I’m stronger, I jump higher. I got better all around.”
XHS Athletic Director Nathan Kopp appreciated the fact that Curtis stayed at the same school, despite there being other programs that would’ve loved to have him.
“The number that resonates with me is “one” — the number of high schools Samari attended during his high school career! This is a tribute to Samari and his belief in Xenia, and it also says a lot about Kent Anderson and his coaching staff and the relationships they are able to forge with the student-athletes at Xenia High School,” Kopp said.
Curtis is now headed to the University of Cincinnati to play for Mick Cronin and the Bearcats. He hopes to major in Business Management at UC.
Curtis is the son of Revonne Arrington, who lives in Xenia. His father, Marcus Curtis, resides in Columbus.